Egress Code in Guelph
As rising Toronto house prices are driving up the price homes in nearby cities like Guelph, more and more people are turning to the use of accessory apartments as a means of keeping up with sky-high mortgage payments. As with anyone in Ontario adding rental units to their basements, there are certain minimum egress requirements that must be met. However, Guelph has stricter egress requirements than the rest of Ontario. If you live in Guelph and are considering installing an accessory apartment in your home, you will want to familiarize yourself with these specific requirements so you are not met with any unwanted surprises on inspection day.
What are Guelph Egress Window Requirements?
- The window must be openable from the inside without the use of tools or special knowledge.
- It must provide an unobstructed opening with a minimum area of 0.38 sq. m. (4.1 sq. ft.) with no dimension less than 450 mm (18”).
- There must be a 1 m (3' 3”) space of clearing in front of the window.
- The window must be no more than 900 mm (2' 11") above the floor or steps.
- Where a window sash swings towards a window well, it must not do so in a way that would restrict escape in an emergency.
What are Egress Windows?
Egress means to go out. Egress windows, then, are windows you can use to leave your home. While they may seem like a regulatory burden, these windows furnish occupants with natural light, provide a source of natural ventilation, and can become a lifesaver in an emergency. If there is a fire in your home, for example, a single stairwell may become unusable, leaving family members and tenants without a clear path to safety. For bedrooms and floors with doors that lead directly outside, these windows are not strictly necessary. This is because there are clear escape routes that can be taken in the case of an emergency. In basements, however, egress windows are essential and, if there is a bedroom, required by law.
Guelph Egress Window Details - Accessory Apartment
If you are in the city of Guelph and installing an accessory apartment (defined by the city's registration document very fancily as, "A dwelling unit located within, and subordinate to, another dwelling (also known as granny flat, basement apartment, or in-law suite)"), you will need to ensure that it meets Guelph's egress code. It is important to remember that Guelph has stricter egress requirements than the rest of Ontario. To count as an egress window the clear opening must be no less than 18" for either dimension and it must have an area of at least 4.1 square feet. The following diagrams show some examples of windows that would and would not pass egress requirements in Guelph.
Window A is the smallest square window that would meet the egress requirements in Guelph. Note that the 24.5" dimensions refers to the clear opening of the window, not the frame of the window.
Window B is the shortest window that would meet egress requirements in Guelph. The clear opening height measures 18", the minimum required. The width of this window must be relatively large, at 33", in order to meet the area requirements for the window.
Window C does not meet egress requirements in Guelph. While both the width and height requirements are met, the area of the clear opening is too small to meet the requirements.
Egress Window Well Requirements in Guelph
Guelph also has stricter requirements for egress window wells and the positioning of the egress window in the basement. The following diagrams provide visuals for these regulations for both in-swinging and out-swinging windows. The base of the window can be no more than 900 mm above the floor or accompanying step, the window well can be no more than 1.0 m below grade level, and the well must extend at least 1.0 m beyond the fully open window (or wall of the house if the window is in-swinging).
Side cross sectional view of the requirements for egress window wells in Guelph. This diagram depicts an in-swinging egress window. The window well for an in-swinging egress window needs to extend a minimum of 1.0 m from the wall of the house.
Side cross sectional view of the requirements for egress window wells in Guelph. This diagram depicts an out-swinging egress window. The window well for an out-swinging egress window needs to extend 1.0 m beyond the fully open window.
To put it all simply, if you are developing your basement in Guelph you will need an egress window that has a wide clearance and be easily opened. In Guelph the requirements for this are more strict than for the rest of Ontario. The Great Egress Company provides a curated collection of windows that meet egress requirements, and we stock sizes that meet the stricter requirements in Guelph. The easiest way to get your hands on a code-compliant egress window is to let us ship one straight to your door. Have a look for yourself.
Our windows come in several types and sizes that will pass egress in Guelph. If you need a specific size or a specific colour, we can have a custom window made just for you.